Cherries Jubilee is just as gorgeous as it is delicious! This timeless dessert is made with sweet-tart cherries, sticky sugar, and smoky bourbon and served over creamy ice cream.
I own a lot of cookbooks. Like, more than I can count. I love flipping through the sometimes glossy, sometimes matte pages decorated with the artful photos of a chef’s unique recipes. I find my greatest sources of inspiration in the indexes and ingredient lists crafted by my fellow bloggers, pastry chefs, and pit masters.
Today’s recipe for classic cherries jubilee comes to us from the latest cookbook to hit my pantry shelf: Watermelon and Red Birds: A Cookbook for Juneteenth and Black Celebrations. Brimming with recipes made to bridge the traditional African-American table and 21st century flavors, Nicole Taylor’s newest book invites its readers to celebrate freedom and savor joy.
These effortlessly made, sticky-sweet cherries are such a treat! They are best served over Taylor’s Honey Vanilla Ice Cream, but you’ll have to pick up a copy of the cookbook for that recipe. It’s so worth it y’all!
This simple dessert has been around since the late 1800’s when it was created by French chef, Auguste Escoffier for Queen Victoria’s Golden Jubilee celebration.
So, what is cherry jubilee? Cherries Jubilee is a simple dessert made with cherries, sugar, and alcohol. Other ingredients like butter, citrus juice, and cornstarch are added to add body and flavor. The cherries are then flambéed to deepen flavor and burn off excess alcohol.
Made with just a few ingredients, this quick and easy cherry sauce is served warm over vanilla ice cream for a delightful ending to any meal.
How To Make Cherries Jubilee
You don’t need baking skills to make this elegant, old school classic! Cherries Jubilee is prepared right on the stove top in less than 15 minutes.
- Bing Cherries– If you’re lucky enough to shop in a place with multiple cherry options, use bing, sour, or rainier cherries. They’re all sweet-tart with a bright and tangy aftertaste- perfect for this recipe!
- Tangerines– Most recipes call for lemon juice but the sweetness of tangerines lends itself so well to the tartness of the cherries. Oranges work great too.
- Unsalted Butter- Butter helps to create a thick, creamy syrup. Use a smooth, high-quality butter for the best result.
- Sugar- fine granulated sugar is the go-to.
- Bourbon or Whiskey- Traditional versions of this recipe call for brandy (which is very delicious) but bourbon and whiskey have a deep, smoky flavor that goes so well here.
- Cornstarch- Cornstarch helps to thicken the syrup.
- Kosher Salt- a pinch of salt makes all these complex flavors pop!
- Vanilla Ice Cream There’s no such thing as cherries jubilee without a fat scoop of creamy vanilla ice cream. Maybe two fat scoops actually.
- Heat up the tangerine juice and butter over medium heat. Do not attempt to raise the temperature to speed things up!
- Once the butter is melted, add the sugar, salt, and cornstarch. Keep that wrist whisking until everything is nice and smooth. We don’t want any lumps in there!
- Add the cherries and stir to combine. Bring the cherries to a simmer and let them cook for a few minutes. Stick close by and stir occasionally! You don’t want the syrup to reduce too much and burn the cherries.
- Now, it’s time to flambé. Wanna know how? Keep reading!
How To Flambé Cherries
Flambéing is very simple. The fire burns off quickly and leaves you with a beautiful, caramelized, intensely flavored sauce. Use a long lighter or match, though!
If flambéing indoors, check for anything that could catch fire overhead or off to the sides of the stove. If outdoors, make sure you have a place to put the hot pan.
Do not stand too close to the pan or lean over it as you add the liquor and be sure to let the flame die out naturally!
If the thought makes you nervous, you don’t have to flambé cherries jubilee. Just cook until the cherries softened and the sauce is thick. It will still be delicious!
Cherries Jubilee is best served while fresh and warm over vanilla ice cream. I also like to serve these jammy cherries over a slice of buttery pound cake! I particularly love it served over cream cheese pound cake or sour cream pound cake because they are dense enough to soak up the sauce and have more of a milder flavor that will let the cherries shine.
Store any leftover cherries jubilee in an airtight container in the refrigerator. I like to use glass mason jars! Leftovers can be stored for up to 3 days; they can either be eaten cold or warmed through in a pan, stirring frequently.
Best Summer Fruit Recipes
There’s nothing like fresh summer fruit, and over at GBC we like to make the most of it! Check out a few more of our FAVORITE fruit-filled recipes:
- Grilled peaches with caramel sauce
- Black Forest Cake
- Strawberry Crumbles
- Blueberry Cheesecake Ice Cream
- Berry Rhubarb Punch
- 4 scoops vanilla ice cream
- 4 tbsp tangerine zest from 2 tangerines
- 1/2 cup tangerine juice from same 2 tangerines
- 4 tbsp unsalted butter 1/2 stick
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 1/4 tsp kosher salt
- 1 tbsp cornstarch
- 1 lb fresh Bing cherries pitted
- 1/3 cup bourbon or American whiskey
- Scoop the ice cream into individual bowls or one large serving bowl and freeze until ready to serve.
- Zest and juice the tangerines; set the zest aside and pour the juice into a large saucepan. Add the butter and place the pot over medium heat. When the butter is melted, add the sugar, salt, and cornstarch and whisk until smooth.
- Add the cherries and stir to combine. Bring the mixture to a simmer, then cook 2 to 3 minutes, until the cherries have softened slightly and the sauce is thickened.
- If cooking indoors, check for anything that could catch fire overhead or off to the sides of the stove. If cooking outdoors, make sure you have a place to put the hot pan.
- Pour the whisky over the cherries and carefully ignite it with a long nosed lighter or long match. Let the flame die out naturally.
- Immediately pour the cherries and sauce into the bowls over the ice cream. Finish with the tangerine zest.